The Banda-Bosses Archive

My Story Part IV

Going away on our honeymoon as mentioned in Part III really gave me some time to find personal clarity and direction. Back home I had a full time coaching job I knew I had to follow through with until the middle of December, but other than my responsibilities there I was a free woman. I was at long last married to my love, confident I had given my heart and soul to the journalism industry only to really find out it wasn’t for me, and ready to make big things happen. I wanted to feel good about my life, the things I stood for, the things I was doing, and the things I was accomplishing.

I remember we returned from our trip on a Friday night and the next morning, rather than snuggle in bed together like newlyweds probably do on any given autumn Saturday morning, I was off to work at 8:00 am (which in hindsight is hilarious because now I wake up even earlier for my job). Andrew on the other hand, loaded up his suitcase and prepared to drive back to Chicago alone. Guys! This was TORTURE. Here I was, a married woman, ready to just live her life and I was sending off my husband by himself to our home over country borderlines. I was coaching two and three year olds that morning in a parent and tot class, and remember trying to keep it together in front of my students. I had a few young parents who would come every Saturday to the class, taking photos of their kids and each other, smiling, laughing, sneaking in kisses here and there, talking about their afternoon plans to go get pumpkins or lay around and watch movies. I’m not entirely sure how I even made it through that day. I was so so sad and broken that entire day.

In journalism we used to talk a lot about storytelling. As a journalist your duty is to tell a story in the most truthful and captivating way. It’s harder to do this than you’d think so we were taught by a few amazing professors in my post grad program (Hi Sherine and Bryan and everyone else at Sheridan!) to search for those gold coins. Those moments, those sound bites, those money shots, those stories of the underdogs; anything that you could infuse into your story or even base your story around, to captivate viewers and keep people engaged until the very end. I was a sucker for gold coin moments. I did a story that fall about a high school kid from my hometown, who was recently murdered at a weekend party gone wrong. He was a big piece of the local BMX community, which my younger brother was also a big part of. My brother was actually friends with the victim. My story was centered on these tough laced bikers and skateboarders doing backflips on their bikes, coming together in the most unlikely of places to grieve their fallen friend. When I was editing a few of my stories I would goosebumps putting those gold coin moments together so intentionally.

The weekend after Andrew left Canada to head back to Chicago, I’d say was worthy of a gold coin moment in this particular part of my story. This was it for me. It seemed no one wanted to give me a chance so I was going to give myself one. My blog (which for the past 10 months had been operating under the new name ‘Hey Gorgeous’) was now an extension of my business. I slapped on an ‘Events’ to the end and started promoting it to friends and family like crazy. My business was now official, to me at least. The URL was purchased. My pricing was set. Cold calls were made to vendors in the area willing to collaborate and work together with me on a then-not-so-popular inspiration shoot. For the first time in many years, and if I’m being honest I’d say maybe eight to ten, I knew something was going to work out. I didn’t even fathom any sort of back up plan. In my head, bless my own heart I suppose, I wouldn’t need one.

The crazy thing is, I didn’t. Hey Gorgeous was built on so much faith and love that the foundation I set then was pivotal to the momentum I’d soon find myself swimming in to keep up with. I grew up a lot that fall. That was when I stopped treating obstacles as devastating blows. I had to really train my brain and my heart to see things differently, to process things in new ways so I could move forward and continue to make progress. I started to feel at peace with myself and my decisions because I wasn’t worried about what was expected of me. I still am training myself to do this now actually. Sometimes when something happens, or is done or said, I have to reevaluate how to handle things best given where I’m at in my life professionally and personally. It’s all about perspective in the big picture. I’m so thankful for whatever sparked that mentality then. A big part of this journey is because my intuition shoved me off the cliff.

Later that winter, just before the end of the year, my coaching position for the fall came to an end (which was a bittersweet day, as I really did love teaching, and inspiring so many students!) it was finally time to make my big move. I loaded up our wedding gifts, my belongings I had accumulated through two plus years of living in my parents basement, my Siamese cat from 8th grade and my born again entrepreneurial spirit/new zest for life. Ready to make the drive and move back to Chicago again, this time hopefully for good, I was eager for change, and change that felt purposeful. I remember getting some of the images back from that first inspiration shoot I ever did with my very dear friend Beth, and tearing up as I looked at my computer screen. I knew on I was on the right track at long last.


Coming up next will be the final part to my (well part of my :) story; I hope you’ll check back for it!

For Part I click here, Part II click here, Part III click here.

Andrew + Rhi


Type, delete, Type, delete. That’s how writing this post first started out. I thought I’d write about life these days, and how despite my best efforts things are still moving a million miles a minute. Then I wanted to write about why things are moving a million miles a minute but that took up too much space and I started to bore even myself, so instead here I am with a boatload of photos of my better half and I. I remember the day Andrew and I had these photos done, my Mom called me to see what I was up to that evening. A Wednesday evening of all days. I told her I was getting ready for this session and she asked me, quite puzzled, what the session was for. I explained to my Ma that life moves fast and as I become older I realize the significance photos hold. If not now, then will we get photos done two, or five or even ten years from now where we’ll be wishing we would have done them earlier? I also jokingly mentioned to her that one day I won’t look the way I do now so I better time freeze my big thick ballerina bun so I can prove I was a babe back in the day to my kids. “Amen to that sister, what a great idea!” she recalled. And with that I present to you, Andrew, myself and my big thick ballerina bun. Proof that this is the good life despite the busyness and endless list of to dos.

We did this impromptu session the week of my 27th birthday with Ben and Mindy of Studio 6.23 here in Grand Rapids. They do some pretty awesome stuff if I do say so myself. And are the kind of people you want to go out and drink margaritas with. Thanks you guys for the enjoyable evening and lovely photos. We’ll treasure them forever and ever.


I promise we didn’t even coordinate our outfits to match the wall. How fun is it that we matched though?


Guys, skip over this part if you don’t wanna hear the mushy stuff but man my husband is a hottie! I just love him.



Happy Monday, blogettes xoxo

Twenty Seven

Today, I turn 27 years old.


It’s not a special age by any means. I’m not 25. I’m not in my last year of my twenties or turning the big 3-0. I’m just 27. Yet I feel like this is a good number for me. It fits. I’ve felt so much clarity leading up to 27 and for the first time in a while feel content in my own skin. I have a small business that I adore, goals and dreams I’m working towards, an amazing husband, and a family and group of friends that’s small, but I’m a quality over quantity kind of girl anyways (unless it’s a bunch of blooms; you can never have too many blooms). I can’t emphasize enough how much I mean it when I say my life is far from perfect but leading up to 27 I’ve accepted – and learned to love – the imperfections.

My Mom asked me last night, what my plans were for today. I told her I wanted to take Zoe for a walk, get caught up on some laundry, take a trip to Target for some new foundation (and a new pouf for our front porch that Andrew doesn’t yet know we are bringing home) and enjoy a 3:00 pm surprise that Andrew planned for me. Maybe we’ll enjoy a nice dinner later and then I’ll prep for a new work week starting tomorrow. It’s funny how our birthday celebration desires change from year to year. But ultimately, my birthday wish for this year? To be happy. 27 I think I like you already.

Photo above from the incredible Mindy and Ben at Studio 6.23. Can’t wait to share more from our session :)